The Best (And Worst) Christmas Sandwiches For 2021

From drab turkey to veggie delights, we taste test new festive sarnies from Pret, M&S, Cafe Nero and more.
Sainsburys/Greggs/M&S

Christmas sandwich season is back – and there are plenty of options to try this year. From classic flavours to new inventions, there really is a sarnie to suit all.

But as the team at HuffPost UK know all too well, not all festive sandwiches are created equal. Turkey can be delightful or painfully dry, stuffing can pack a punch or be abysmally bland. And the bread? There’s a lot to say about the bread.

To help you make a selection before parting with your hard-earned cash, we’ve completed our annual taste test, sampling some of the sandwiches on offer from the nation’s biggest supermarkets and high street cafés. Enjoy!

M&S Boxing Day Triple (£3.80) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Marks and Spencer

“Boxing Day leftovers are the highlight of Christmas food for me, so I’m excited to try this triple homage. The packet contains three satisfyingly contrasting flavours: turkey and stuffing, ham hock and piccalilli, and Wensleydale with carrot and orange chutney. Each sarnie is moist, absolutely packed with filling and there’s fresh, light bread all round.

“The turkey mix is my favourite, with the perfect amount of cranberry and lovely, peppery seasoning. The ham hock screams ‘good quality meat’ and while the piccalilli is strong, it isn’t as overpowering as others I’ve tried in the past. I enjoy the Wensleydale and chutney combo, but the orange is quite sweet, so this one might divide the crowds. Overall, a satisfying lunch for the price.” – Rachel Moss, Life editor

Waitrose Christmas Smoked Salmon, Egg & Truffle Sandwich (£3.80) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Waitrose

“This new Christmas sandwich looks as inviting as it does in the pics and it’s clear to see what you’re getting with each layer. The generous serving of chunky egg mayo topped with the salty salmon along with the mushroom and truffle sauce, which don’t overpower, provide a tasty combination of flavour. For others, it might be a bit rich.

“The crispy spinach and soft rye bread give it the right texture. For £3.80, I’d say this is a luxury sandwich that’s not for the everyday lunch. More like a lunchtime treat on a special day.” – Melanie Grant, audience editor, HuffPost Shopping

Starbucks Blitzen’s Blue Cheese & Chutney Toastie (from £2.99) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Starbucks/Faima Bakar

“I love a cheese toastie, much more than a cold sandwich, so I’m excited to try this cheese and chutney combo. This festive toastie from Starbucks is packed with blue stilton cheese, grated mozzarella soft cheese, cheddar and Emmental, with apple chutney and topped with cranberries. It feels festive, the pop of red cranberries certainly feels Christmassy. Taste wise, it’s very rich, but the chutney and cranberry cuts through all the cheese nicely. I’m not the biggest fan of blue cheese, but all the ingredients work together. This is a good Christmas sandwich.” – Faima Bakar, Life reporter

Tesco Finest Turkey Feast Sandwich (£3) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Tesco
Tesco
Tesco

“A step up from the regular Tesco festive sandwich, this creation has a luxury feel to it, and a luxury price to match – £3 for a sandwich does feel like a high price point. However, it has to be argued that it is a very nice sandwich and worth the splurge.

“The stock-basted turkey breast combined with beechwood smoked bacon and pork and onion stuffing is delicious. It comes with a generous topping of port and cranberry sauce and a dollop of mayonnaise (which I will admit I was a bit unsure about – mayo in a Christmas sandwich?!) on soft sage and cranberry bread. The specialty bread is a great touch and adds a little extra something to the sandwich. Overall, a really nice festive lunch. Despite the addition of mayonnaise, I really enjoy it.” – Beth Mahoney, Shopping writer

Sainsbury’s Rudolph’s Christmas Feast Sandwich (£3) ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Sainsburys/Nabihah Parkar
Sainsburys/Nabihah Parkar
Sainsburys/Nabihah Parkar

“If Sainsbury’s are aiming for an Instagram moment, they definitely have it with this sandwich. The bun is shaped like a star and looks almost too pretty to eat. The vegan alternative to a Christmas sandwich is tasty and full of flavour and the addition of sunflower seeds adds a nice crunch to an overall fluffy roll. But for me the flavours lean too much towards sweet than savoury.

“Although the carrot and pumpkin filling give me autumn/winter vibes, as a lunchtime snack it would be great to have some more savoury flavours in there. The ingredients mention a sage and onion vegan mayo that felt non-existent, and could’ve been the saving grace if there were more of it.” – Nabihah Parkar, audience engagement reporter

Greggs Pigs-Under-Blankets Baguette (£3.20) ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Greggs

“I’m a big fan of pigs-in-blankets in general, so I’m excited to try the Greggs Pigs-Under-Blankets creation. The price is pretty reasonable, but the baguette looks similar to any other Greggs baguette, with no festive touch, apart from the obligatory pork double of bacon and sausage. Everything’s covered with a red sauce – at first glance, it looks like it might be ketchup, but it’s actually cranberry and port. I’m someone who hates any type of sauce (weird, I know). But I have a go and, no, it’s a bit too overpowering, so I try to avoid it.

“The baguette also contains onion and sage stuffing, which does add to the Christmasy vibes. The bacon and sausage taste decent, but you can’t go wrong with them really. Overall, it’s moderately enjoyable, but you’d definitely need to like the cranberry sauce (and I don’t) to properly pig out on this one.” – Habiba Katsha, Life reporter

Caffe Nero Vegan Festive Feast Panini £4.60 ⭐️⭐️

Cafe Nero

“This panini is fine – but it is mostly bread. While I’m sure the fake turkey ‘meat’ is tasty, I wouldn’t know. It seemed to get lost amid all of the ciabatta roll and there were very few bits of it in the whole sandwich. As a strong advocate for almost all plant-based meat substitutes (they’ve really come a long way in recent years), this did feel like a let down.

“I have tried more than a few Caffe Nero’s paninis in my time and the bread has always been consistently soft and looked pretty appetising. But on this occasion, it carried the whole meal. The cranberry sauce also seemed to get completely absorbed into the roll, while the festive stuffing seemed close to non-existent.

“To top it all off, there were about three spinach leaves in the entire panini. All in all, a pretty sparse offering and unless the panini is filled with more ingredients, I wouldn’t say it is worth £4.60.” – Kate Nicholson, senior trends reporter

Vegan Christmas Flatbread (£5.25) ⭐️

Vegan Christmas Flatbread
Pret
Vegan Christmas Flatbread

“Pret always delivers some solidly dependable festive lunch options – from the Christmas Lunch sandwich for turkey traditionalists to my personal favourite, the Brie, Pistachio and Cranberry baguette. This year, they’ve added a Turkey & Trimmings toastie (possibly for alliterative purposes?) to the menu, as well as a Vegan Christmas Flatbread. I’m trying the latter and it certainly looks promising.

“Fillings wise, we have the vegan bingo of roasted butternut squash, sweet potato falafel and spinach, jazzed up with some pickled cabbage and carrot. It’s certainly colourful, but I’m not getting much festive flavour. Yes, there’s Pret’s ubiquitous port and orange cranberry sauce and some vegan sage mayo. But ‘Christmas’ pesto? Hmm. You’d think all the sauce would make for a luscious mouthful, but it actually leaves me cold and a tad queasy. Meanwhile, the wholemeal flatbread is as flexible and absorbent as cardboard and about as appetising. Not so much ‘ho, ho, ho’ as ‘no, no, no’ from me, especially at this price.” – Nancy Groves, head of Life.